Tired of looking at a dilapidated shed at the bottom of their garden the Thornton family decided it was time to create something more attractive and practical. The new Rooms Outdoor workspace, combined with storage, that now graces their London garden has become affectionately know as the 'shoffice'.
'With two adults working from home, two children and a nine month old baby, we'd finally come to the conclusion that it was time to do something about finding space for a proper office at home. We'd already had an extension a couple of years ago and know what the upheaval is like. We just couldn't face that again. We're also very happy with where we live. We have a great school at the end of the road so wanted to stay near here, but knew that finding a larger family property in the area wouldn't be easy.
'To be honest the old timber shed was something of an eyesore and quite dangerous. It was completely falling apart and although we live in a conservation area, it really wasn't something that could claim to need conserving! However we realised that it did give us the perfect space in which to create something new. Having an existing building there was also quite helpful when, due to the conservation status, we needed to get planning permission.
'We had already selected Rooms Outdoor, liking their innovative style and realising that we could customise one of their designs so that the fascia would match our existing extension. They were also very responsive during the quote phase when they were very quick to come back with any changes and were very thorough in including everything. So we were really delighted when we found out that they would also handle the planning process for us. I don't think we could've done it without their help.
'Once we got underway everything happened very smoothly. Rooms Outdoor demolished and disposed of the old shed and cleared the site meaning we didn't have to find other contractors to do that for us. We are so pleased with the end result. It looks fabulous and is so practical. We call it the 'shoffice' because it has everything. We work in it - it's in easy reach of the WiFi and cordless home phone, the children love playing in it, but also it has a separate storage area, like a shed, where we can keep all the paraphernalia that comes with the garden, children's bikes and toys. The children even use the outside decked area to perform their little plays on.
'It has really enhanced the house and the garden. It blends well with the extension and has actually completely changed the character of the garden. It was a concern that we might lose green space but in fact is so well used and is so much better to look at than the shed and wall that used to be our view.
'We feel that it really is an asset and must have significantly added value to the house. My partner Phil is a financial journalist and his assessment was that this was a far better investment than moving or paying rent on an office in London.
'We're just embarking on making the most of the interior space now and are looking at some clever storage. One of the great things is that it is so flexible so we're looking at how we can accommodate both work and toys so we can really get the most out of our 'shoffice'.